I’m interested in creating a platform to discuss how stigmatized debt is in our culture. It’s a publicly enforced system, but it’s typically privately experienced.
Mike: We’re going to do a monthly debt check-in later today. Let me know what your new balance is.
Logan: It’s gone up.
Loans with collateral are referred to as “secured debt,” and loans without as “unsecured debt.”
Nearly three-quarters of college students borrow funds to pay for school these days and, as we know, it is not always easy — or possible — to pay those loans back. Well, it turns out one thing you might be able to do to help yourself succeed is move. Specifically, move west.
According to schools.com, four of the top five states for student loan repayment are on the Pacific side of things: Utah, Wyoming, Washington, and Nevada. (The fifth is Virginia so the Atlantic gets a brief nod.) California and Colorado also place in the top 10. But stop short of Cali: San Francisco is a luxury ghost town these days. (“On average, 39 percent of condos built since 2000 have absentee owners, and for newer buildings like One Rincon Hill, that number is 50 percent or above.”) Also there’s no water.
Why is the West such fertile ground for loan repayment? Low unemployment rates, low cost-of-living, and high incomes boost Utah and Wyoming. Washington State, Wyoming, and Nevada make things easier on residents by not charging income tax. Wait, what?
FYI, there are only seven states that don’t charge income tax: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. I can understand the small and the oil-rich not needing to profit off individuals but how on earth do huge states with significant populations of poors and olds like Texas and Florida get away with that? Texas makes up the difference via property taxes, “some of the highest in the nation.” New Jersey and New Hampshire are also expensive places to own property. And Florida … is there anything good to say about Florida?
Jake Halpern at the Times spent the day at a debt collection agency, even going so far as to jump on the phone — at the agency’s insistence — and hound people with outstanding debts.
It’s time to check in on our debt payments and savings goals again. If you’re joining us for the first time, you can read about our decision to publicly keep track of our debt here.